We did not find ourselves inclined towards gratitude when depressed. Rather negative things or hardships seemed like mountains in our lives. But now with emotional sobriety, however challenging at times, I see the gift of family and friends, and today I am thankful.
Today – “I will accept hardship as a pathway to peace… Not as I would have it, Trusting that You [God] will make things right, If I surrender to Your will” (from the Serenity Prayer). For many of us this may be a rare perspective. We tend to think of hardships as troubling or grounding or even a way of directing one’s mind towards the need for God. But to think of it as a pathway to peace is a profound perspective. Today, with God’s help, I will surrender, and accept hardship as a pathway to peace.
Today I will check in with my fellowship and my sponsor. I realize that accountability is key to my recovery and my sobriety (emotional or otherwise). And my twelve step fellowship, my sponsor, and my trusted friends are all important avenues to my accountability. Still I am the driver. I must take the responsibility and the initiative and today – I will to be accountable.
Today, I will help… Today, I will help someone sick… Today, I will help someone spiritually sick… Today I will help someone spiritually sick who has wronged me! For many of us a vision for this is one of the most difficult challenges in our program. Yet, as the Big Book of AA explains, it is key to our spiritual recovery.
“This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.'” (pages 66-67 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous).
I want to be free from anger and experience life! So today – I will be ready to help someone spiritually sick who has wronged me!
One of the more elusive of the twelve step promises is that “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it”. To those of us who have caused pain to the ones we love, as a result of our addictive behavior, it can be hard to reconcile how we might come to “not regret the past”. However, each day that I am able to share “what it was like, what happened, and what things are like now” with another in need, the truth of that promise becomes clearer to me. Do I still have regrets? I would be less than honest to say no. But I have faith in the program and the promises, so today I will embrace my past to help another, and trust that one day – “I will not regret… in God’s timing”.
“Let Go and Let God”, commonly heard in 12 step meetings because it is so commonly our challenge. All too often we discover how we are powerless over our emotions when we insist on holding on to to our “righteous indignation”. Such emotion is the dubious luxury of others. But as for me, today, I choose to “Let Go and Let God”.
We hear in 12 step fellowships that “Recovery is a three legged stool: principles, fellowship, and Higher Power. If one of the legs is broken, the stool falls.” How true this is for many of us. Fellowship is certainly an important element of our recovery program. And those of us who have discovered that we were powerless over out emotions without help from a Higher Power are especially tempted to isolate at times. Today, I choose to be part of a fellowship – and to fellowship. I will reach out to others in my fellowship and allow others to reach out to me and in that reach – we will discover a strength from our Higher Power working in us together.
Being of Service is an important part of our fellowship. It not only helps others – but it helps ourselves. And It’s never to soon to start. One way I can serve is to share with those in need – my experience in recovery, my strength from my higher power, and my hope in a future, free from depression and other addictions – one day at a time – as I continue to work this program.
My highest priority today is emotional sobriety. My pathway there is to commit to respond rationally to interactions and situations rather than react emotionally. I will use the tools that I have acquired in my program to help me: pause, three deep breaths, focus on body sensations, and prayer. I have learned that this is a program that works – if I work it!
Deciding and working the twelve steps of recovery can appear daunting at times, like climbing a steep mountain. But remembering the twelve promises can remind us, like a rainbow, that it is all worthwhile. And we can do it – one step at a time. Today, I will remember the promises of recovery!
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self- seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.